Verse: 1 John 2:24-27
As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life. I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
Imagine an alternate universe where everything is exactly the same, except that deep in Yellowstone Park, they have the Old Faithless geyser, which is spectacular, but irregular, chaotic, and kind of dangerous because nobody knows when and how large it’s going to blast off. Do you think anyone would care? Nobody really cares about geysers, the only reason they visit Old Faithful in our universe is because they know they can get in, see it, check it off the to-do list, and carry on with life.
But look at that again. We’ve taken something that is otherwise very ordinary in our world: water spraying in the air, and millions of people have seen it and visited it, and many millions more are at least aware of it, all because of one attribute: reliability.
The older I get, the more convinced I am of the value in habit, consistency, reliability, and average speed. John is helping us unlock a key to the universe in these verses. Along with other verses, and even the world itself, we see that God has set things up so that regularity and consistency smooth out chaos and bring the desired results over time.
The fable of the tortoise and the hare tells the same truth, although we often overlook or miss it due to it being cliche. Is the lesson that the hare was too fast? No, it’s that the hare didn’t maintain its speed consistently, wore itself out due to chaotic starting and stopping, and crapped out early without finishing the race.
Each week, I bring one of my four kids on a one-on-one date for a couple hours. Not every date is amazing, yet the kids love it, look forward to it, and are excited when it’s their turn. It’s reliable, consistent, and is an excellent way for us to maintain our relationship. Sure, we could do this organically, but this way I’m guaranteed a minimum of 12 dates per year with each one. By the time they turn 18, it’s about 200 dates. That’s a lot of dates!
I think this principle is valuable because it provides a structure that lets us accomplish far more than we naturally would will ourselves to do. Personally, I never feel like doing all the things I need to do, so I have to turn nearly everything into a habit so I can take a mental shortcut, save the energy, and get it done.
In these verses, John is trying to help people build a strong foundation so they aren’t swept away by incorrect or invalid beliefs. That’s what he means by remaining. It’s a foundation that gives strength and steadfastness. The key here is building up that foundation through consistency, so that you have a strong basis for your beliefs and a tight relationship with God himself.
If you also have felt like you can’t find the willpower to “do the things” to have a relationship with God, like consistent prayer time, Bible reading, study, conversation with others, worshipping, try building habits. They’ll help you build that foundation so that it’s easy to avoid being swept away by whatever sounds good, like the author John talks about. One small habit at a time, over time.
God, what’s one small habit I can start today that will help me build consistency and remain in You?
Author: Jordan Ambra
As an adult with ADD, I’m naturally sporadic in many areas of my life. I feel challenged, hopeful, and excited by the idea of building habits to become more faithful in doing life-building actions. Thank you for the timely word!